A former staffer for Governor Cuomo says he “sexually harassed [her] for years” when she worked as an aide. On Sunday, Lindsey Boylan tweeted that “many saw” Cuomo’s allegedly inappropriate behavior, “and watched” without intervening.
“I could never anticipate what to expect: would I be grilled on my work (which was very good) or harassed about my looks?” Boylan wrote in a Twitter thread on Sunday. “Or would it be both in the same conversation? This was the way for years.”
A spokesperson for Cuomo did not immediately return the Cut’s request for comment, but the governor’s press secretary, Caitlin Girouard, told the New York Times: “There is simply no truth to these claims.” And at Monday’s coronavirus news briefing, Cuomo told reporters he knew about the thread but denied any wrongdoing.
“I fought for, and I believe, a woman has the right to come forward and express her opinion, and express issues and concerns that she has, but it’s just not true,” he said. Asked whether or not he had ever commented on Boylan’s looks, Cuomo reiterated that “the tweets were simply not true.”
From March 2015 to October 2018, Boylan served as executive vice-president of Empire State Development, and then as a special adviser. Currently a candidate for Manhattan borough president, Boylan says she has “no interest in speaking to journalists,” and did not share details of Cuomo’s purported misconduct. “I am about validating the experience of countless women and making sure abuse stops,” she added.
Boylan has previously tweeted that Cuomo’s office environment was “beyond toxic” and “endlessly dispiriting” for those outside the “small group of white people sitting alongside him at every presser.” And on Saturday, in response to a report that President-elect Joe Biden may be considering Cuomo for U.S. attorney general, Boylan tweeted that, to her mind, “There are fewer things more scary than giving this man, who exists without ethics, even more control.”
“I saw how he wielded power for years. He takes advantage of people, including me,” she wrote. “I hope @JoeBiden & @KamalaHarris don’t do this.”
Again, Boylan has not come forward with detailed allegations against Cuomo. And according to the New York Post, her own resignation from his administration came amid complaints that she was a “bully” to some of her Black colleagues, who said in 2018 that she “treats them like children.” The Guardian reports that several women she worked with told Empire State Development’s human-resources department that “Ms. Boylan had behaved in a way towards them that was harassing, belittling, and had yelled and been generally unprofessional.” She reportedly resigned after meeting with officials to be “counseled” about the incidents.
Nonetheless, Boylan wrote on Sunday that “not knowing what to expect [was] the most upsetting part aside from knowing that no one would do a damn thing even when they saw it. No one. And I *know* I am not the only woman.”
This article has been updated with the Governor’s statement at a recent news conference.